Biden proposes $750 billion healthcare policy

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

July 16, 2019: Joe Biden proposed expanding the Affordable Care Act. Cory Booker released his long-term care policy.


Which was the most recent presidential election where both parties renominated their candidates from the last election?

Notable Quote of the Day

“Some of these candidates need a miracle. It’s like if you’re a baseball team and you’re 15 games behind in mid-July, the odds are that you’re not making it to the playoffs.

If you don’t have the money, you’re not going to have the infrastructure. And if you don’t have the money or the infrastructure, what are you going to do to break through? At this point, it’s just very, very tough.”

– Mathew Littman, Democratic strategist


  • Michael Bennet discussed agricultural runoff during a campaign stop at the Iowa Flood Center Monday.

  • Joe Biden unveiled his $750 billion healthcare plan Monday. It would build on the Affordable Care Act by adding a public option that resembles Medicare. Biden’s plan would also increase healthcare tax credits to limit healthcare spending to no more than 8.5 percent of a household’s income.

  • Cory Booker released his long-term care policy Monday. Booker proposed increasing Medicaid asset and income limits to cover more people. He also called for expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit for family caregivers and paying long-term care workers a minimum of $15 per hour.

  • In an interview on Recode Decode with Kara SwisherPete Buttigieg discussed systemic racism, tech regulation, and the state of the Democratic Party.

  • The Des Moines Register and AARP are hosting a series of five forums in Iowa this week. Julián CastroKirsten Gillibrand, and Kamala Harris will participate in Tuesday’s event in Davenport, Iowa.

  • John Delaney wrote an op-ed about the opioid crisis in the Concord Monitor.

  • Jay Inslee participated in the “20 Questions for 2020” series by NowThisNews, discussing clean energy, mountain climbing, and campaign strategy.

  • In an interview on the NPR Politics PodcastAmy Klobuchar said she would prioritize nominating federal judges on her first day in office, but would not release any names during her campaign. 

  • Wayne Messam spoke about his presidential campaign and uneven media coverage on The Breakfast Club.

  • In an interview on ABC News’ The Investigation podcast, Seth Moulton called for an impeachment inquiry to begin immediately and criticized the debate over the politics of impeachment.

  • Beto O’Rourke is opening 11 field offices in Iowa and his first field office in Texas.

  • Tim Ryan toured a migrant child detention center in Homestead, Florida, as part of an oversight visit.

  • Bernie Sanders proposed establishing a $20 billion emergency trust fund to enable local governments to purchase for-profit hospitals in financial distress.

  • In an interview with Cheddar PoliticsJoe Sestak spoke about space exploration and his proposal for a two-state solution in Israel.

  • Tom Steyer will campaign in San Francisco, California, on Wednesday.

  • The Washington Post reported on Elizabeth Warren’s legal consulting for Dow Chemical in a case involving women who had become sick from breast implants made by the company’s subsidiary.

  • Marianne Williamson campaigned in Beverly Hills, California, on Monday.


  • Top donors to the Trump Victory Committee, a joint fundraising venture by Donald Trump and the Republican National Committee, include Nebraska donor Marlene Ricketts and former Small Business Administration head Linda McMahon. They each gave the maximum contribution of $360,000. Trump is scheduled to host a fundraiser Friday at his Bedminister golf course.

Flashback: July 16, 2015

Politico reported on the salaries of top 2016 staffers. Marco Rubio campaign manager Terry Sullivan was earning an annual salary of $198,000. Rand Paul’s campaign manager, Chip Englander, followed with $129,000, according to financial reports.

The Daily Brew: Who will be in the next Democratic presidential debate? We’ll know this week

Today’s Brew highlights which candidates have qualified for the second Democratic presidential debates + a summary of new state ballot measures from the past month  
 The Daily Brew

Welcome to the Tuesday, July 16, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Candidates in second Democratic presidential debates will be announced this week
  2. Four statewide ballot measures certified over the past month
  3. Nine candidates running for an open seat on Atlanta’s school board

Candidates in second Democratic presidential debates will be announced this week

Twenty-one Democratic presidential candidates have reached either the polling or fundraising threshold for the party’s second set of debates on July 30 and 31. Since only 20 candidates—10 per night—will participate, the Democratic National Committee will use tiebreaker criteria to determine who will participate. These criteria are, in order:

  1. Candidates who have achieved both the polling and fundraising thresholds,
  2. Candidates with the highest polling average, and
  3. Candidates with the highest number of contributors.

The 14 candidates who have reached both sets of requirements are Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Julián Castro, Tulsi Gabbard, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Jay Inslee, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Marianne Willamson, and Andrew Yang.

Six other candidates—Michael Bennet, Steve Bullock, Bill de Blasio, John Delaney, John Hickenlooper, and Tim Ryan—have met the polling threshold of 1 percent support or more in three eligible national or early state polls.

Over the weekend, Mike Gravel announced he had reached the fundraising threshold of at least 65,000 unique contributors and at least 200 unique contributors from a minimum of 20 U.S. states. Four candidates have not yet met either qualifying criteria—Wayne Messam, Seth Moulton, Joe Sestak, and Tom Steyer.

The lineup for each night of the debates will be announced during a live drawing on CNN July 18. 

These debates—which will be held in Detroit—will be conducted using different rules than the first set of debates on June 26 and 27. According to CNN, candidates will be allowed to make both opening and closing statements and participants who repeatedly interrupt other speakers will be penalized. Unlike last month’s debate, there will be no questions requiring a show of hands or one-word, down-the-line answers. 

The third Democratic presidential debate is scheduled for Sept. 12 in Houston. Candidates will need to receive two percent support or more in four national or early state polls and have received donations from at least 130,000 unique donors to qualify.

Want the lineup in your inbox the morning after it is announced? Click here to sign up for Ballotpedia’s free Daily Presidential News Briefing.

Learn more

Four statewide ballot measures certified over the past month 

In our latest edition of State Ballot Measure Monthly—click here to subscribe—we learned that four new statewide measures have been certified for the 2019 and 2020 ballots. 

Three will go before voters in 2019. Here’s what each measure would do:

  • A state constitutional amendment in Maine would authorize legislation allowing persons with physical disabilities that prevent them from signing their own names to use an alternative signature to sign petitions for citizen-initiated ballot measures. Maine’s constitution currently requires people to sign petitions for citizen-initiated ballot measures with their original signature. 
  • A New Jersey amendment would extend an existing $250 property tax deduction that veterans receive to be sent to continuing care retirement centers on behalf of the veterans living there. It would also require those retirement centers to pass the value of the deduction on to veterans in the form of credits or payments.  
  • A Pennsylvania amendment would add a specific set of rights for crime victims—together known as Marsy’s Law—to the state constitution.

A 2020 measure that would allow state and local governments to pass campaign finance laws was certified in Oregon. The state legislatures referred all four of these amendments to their respective ballots.

Read this month’s issue


Nine candidates running for an open seat on Atlanta’s school board

Nine candidates are running in a special election for a seat on the Atlanta Public Schools board. They include three former school board candidates, a former Atlanta city council candidate, and a former candidate for the Georgia House of Representatives.The election is Sept. 17. If no candidate receives a majority of the vote, a runoff election will be held Oct. 15.

Former board member Byron Amos resigned the seat in January to run for the Atlanta City Council. Amos had served on the board since 2011 and was re-elected in a 2017 runoff by less than one percentage point. Keisha Carey, who lost to Amos in the 2017 runoff, is one of the nine candidates seeking the open seat. The winner of the special election will serve until 2021 when the entire nine-member board is up for election.

The Atlanta public school district is the sixth-largest in Georgia. It had 51,145 students during the 2014-2015 school year.

Learn more→


Castro, Gillibrand, Inslee, and Warren attend Netroots Nation conference

 Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

July 15, 2019: Julián Castro, Kirsten Gillibrand, Jay Inslee, and Elizabeth Warren attended Netroots Nation in Philadelphia. Mike Gravel reached the donor threshold for the second debate.

There are 13 new candidates running since last week, including five Democrats, one Republican, and two Libertarians. In total, 779 individuals are currently filed with the FEC to run for president.

Notable Quote of the Day

“It’s definitely fear, what else? They’ve known since March that this conference [Netroots Nation] is happening, so don’t give me [expletive] about scheduling. It’s stupid. … If they want to cede the ground to Warren, then great.”

– Markos Moulitsas, DailyKos founder, on candidates who did not go to Netroots Nation


  • Michael Bennet will hold a meet and greet in Iowa City Monday and attend a climate change event Tuesday.
  • The Des Moines Register and AARP are hosting a series of five forums in Iowa this week. Joe BidenCory BookerJohn Hickenlooper, and Amy Klobuchar will participate in Monday’s event in Des Moines, Iowa.
  • Bill de Blasio discussed the Trump administration’s planned ICE raids in an interview on CNN’s State of the Union.
  • De Blasio’s son, Dante, is also joining his presidential campaign as a policy analyst.
  • The Washington Post examined Steve Bullock’s campaign messaging and record on campaign finance issues.
  • ABC’s Nightline profiled Pete Buttigieg Sunday, including his handling of a police-involved fatal shooting in South Bend, Indiana.
  • CNN reported that Buttigieg has more than 250 staff members and planned to expand his operations in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina, and California.
  • Julián CastroKirsten GillibrandJay Inslee, and Elizabeth Warren attendedNetroots Nation in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
    • Castro discussed income inequality and advocated housing vouchers and the enforcement of the Fair Housing Act.
    • Gillibrand discussed the loss of manufacturing jobs and the concept of white privilege.
    • Inslee spoke against the filibuster.
    • Warren shared portions of her new immigration plan.
  • In an interview on the PBS show Firing Line with Margaret HooverJohn Delaneydiscussed his plan to only push forward bipartisan bills during his first 100 days in office.
  • Tulsi Gabbard was off the campaign trail to complete her monthly Army National Guard duty.
  • Mike Gravel reached the donor threshold to qualify for the second Democratic presidential debate. The campaign said it had contacted the Democratic National Committee over the polling qualification requirement since Gravel has been excluded from more than half of eligible polls.
  • Kamala Harris appeared on The Breakfast Club radio show Friday morning, where she criticized other presidential candidates for releasing proposals that would be difficult to implement.
  • Hickenlooper hired Peter Cunningham to replace Lauren Hitt as communications director. 
  • Wayne Messam spoke at the Second Nazareth Baptist Church in South Carolina.
  • In an interview with CNBC, Seth Moulton discussed climate change, tech regulation, and federal buyback programs for guns.  
  • In a Medium post, Beto O’Rourke wrote about the generational consequences of slavery and said he was descended from a slave owner. 
  • O’Rourke also protested conditions at immigrant detention centers at a vigil in New Hampshire Friday.
  • Tim Ryan raised $895,000 from more than 13,000 individual donors.
  • Bernie Sanders will hold a campaign rally in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to protest the closure of the Hanemann University Hospital Monday.
  • Joe Sestak campaigned in Iowa, including stops in Waterloo, Lake Mills, and West Liberty.
  • Tom Steyer made his first campaign stop as a presidential candidate in South Carolina Friday, where he met with community members and local activists in Charleston.
  • Marianne Williamson spoke at the Wild Goose Festival on spirituality and justice in North Carolina.
  • Andrew Yang held a rally in Portland, Oregon, marking his first campaign stop in the city.
  • The New Republic and Gizmodo announced that they planned to hold a summit on climate change in New York City on September 23. Candidates will appear individually on stage to answer questions being drafted, in part, by Columbia University’s Earth Institute. The New Republic withdrew from the event following criticism of its publication of an op-ed focused on Buttigieg’s sexuality.


  • Donald Trump promoted the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement during campaign stops in Wisconsin and Ohio Friday.
  • Bill Weld discussed Robert Mueller’s potential testimony in an interview on CNN.

What We’re Reading

Flashback: July 15, 2015

Including both campaign fundraising and aligned super PAC totals, Jeb Bush, Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Rick Perry led the fundraising race after the second quarter of 2015.

The Daily Brew: Trump administration changes approach to obtaining citizenship data

Today’s Brew highlights how the federal government will collect information on residents’ citizenship + our Candidate Connection report summarizes last year’s candidate surveys  
The Daily Brew

Welcome to the Monday, July 15, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Trump directs federal agencies to provide citizenship information, ends effort to add citizenship question to 2020 census
  2. Learn more about the nearly 2,000 candidates who responded to our survey last year
  3. Florida group announces it collected almost double the required signatures for citizen voting amendment

Trump directs federal agencies to provide citizenship information, ends effort to add citizenship question to 2020 census

President Trump (R) announced Thursday that his administration would cease efforts to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. Trump instead issued an executive order directing federal agencies to provide citizenship information to the Department of Commerce.

The president’s executive order stated in part, “I have determined that it is imperative that all executive departments and agencies (agencies) provide the Department the maximum assistance permissible, consistent with law, in determining the number of citizens and non-citizens in the country, including by providing any access that the Department may request to administrative records that may be useful in accomplishing that objective.”

Attorney General William Barr stated that the decision ended the ongoing litigation surrounding the citizenship question on the census.

Here’s a summary of how we got here:

  • Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross approved the addition of a citizenship question on the 2020 U.S. Census in March 2018, arguing that the question would improve enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. The question asked, “Is this person a citizen of the United States?”

  • The question was blocked by lower courts on the grounds that it violated the Constitution’s Enumeration Clause and the Census Act. Lower courts also held that Trump administration officials had failed to follow proper administrative procedure under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).

  • The Supreme Court decided 5-4 last month to both affirm the legality of a citizenship question on the census and remand the case—Department of Commerce v. New York—to the agency for review. The court ruled that the Trump administration’s decision to add the citizenship question to the census did not violate the Enumeration Clause or the Census Act. However, the court held that Ross’ rationale for adding the question to the census was inconsistent with the administrative record in violation of the APA.

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Learn more about the nearly 2,000 candidates who responded to our survey last year 

One of Ballotpedia’s core missions is to enlighten voters about the people running for office and their political philosophies. Our Candidate Connection survey tool – one of my favorite projects – had nearly 2,000 candidate replies in 2018. 

We were thrilled that 1,957 candidates took the time to candidly tell our readers all about themselves and their values. 

We’re getting ready to re-launch our 2020 survey tool – and we cannot wait to show you all of the exciting changes. In the meantime, here are a few more data points about our 2018 survey.

  • A majority of respondents—56.06%—ran for state legislative office and 21.67% ran for seats in Congress.

  • Out of the nearly 2,000 candidates who responded to Ballotpedia’s candidate survey, 477—24.4%—won their elections. Another 772—39.4%—won their party’s primary and lost in the general election. Texans made up the largest portion of candidate respondents—186—with Californians coming in second with 147. 

  • Out of all 50 states, only two—Mississippi and North Dakota—did not have any candidates respond.

Our 2018 Candidate Connection report also highlights a few notable candidates who completed the survey, identifies the respondents who won their elections, and lists all of the 1,957 candidates who sent in answers.


Florida group announces it collected almost double the required signatures for citizen voting amendment

Sponsors of a Florida initiative that would amend the state constitution to state that only U.S. citizens are qualified to vote announced last week that they collected more than 1.5 million signatures to qualify the measure for the 2020 ballot. The group—Florida Citizen Voters—needs to submit 766,200 valid signatures by February 1, 2020. 

The amendment would change the Florida Constitution to state, “Only a citizen of the United States who is at least eighteen years of age and who is a permanent resident of the state, if registered as provided by law, shall be an elector of the county where registered.” The state constitution currently uses the term “every citizen” instead of “only a citizen.”

A similar amendment is certified to appear on the ballot in Alabama in 2020.

All state constitutions mention United States citizenship when discussing the qualifications of an elector. Twenty-one (21) states use the specific phrase “Every citizen of the United States…” when discussing who is a qualified elector. An additional 16 states use the word “every” but structure the sentence differently. Six states use the word “all” or “any” when discussing citizenship and suffrage. Six other states have some other way of phrasing the sentence. 

Voters in North Dakota decided a similar measure—Measure 2—in 2018. The measure amended the North Dakota Constitution to state that “only a citizen” rather than “every citizen” of the U.S. can vote in federal, state, and local elections. Voters approved that measure 66% to 34%. Currently, North Dakota is the only state that uses that phrase in its state constitution.

Voters in San Francisco approved a measure—Proposition N—in 2016 which allowed noncitizens to register to vote in school board elections. New York City allowed noncitizens to vote in local school board elections from 1968 to 2003 until the city abolished elected school boards. As of 2019, 11 cities in Maryland, including Hyattsville, Mount Rainier, and Takoma Park allowed noncitizens to vote. Chicago has allowed noncitizens to vote and serve on its school councils since 1989.

Twenty-two statewide measures have been certified for the 2019 ballot in five states. In odd-numbered years from 2007 to 2017, an average of about 33 measures appeared on the ballot in an average of 8 states. In 2017, 27 statewide measures were certified. 

Thirty-seven statewide measures have been certified for the 2020 ballot in 18 states.



Under new law, Rhode Island unions can charge fees to non-members for grievance representation

On July 8, Governor Gina Raimondo (D) signed H5259 and S0712 into law. These companion bills authorize public-sector unions to impose fees on non-members who request union representation in grievance and/or arbitration proceedings. It requires public-sector employers to notify unions within five days of hiring new employees. It also requires employees to file written notice with the state controller in order to discontinue payroll deductions for union dues.

  • State political context: Rhode Island is a Democratic trifecta; since 2013, Democrats have controlled the governorship and both chambers of the state legislature.
  • State membership context: According to a report from the state department of administration, as of May 2019 there were 11,326 state employees in union positions. Of these, 702 were not union members, accounting for approximately 6.2 percent of the total.
  • National legislative context: As of July 12, four additional states have enacted five relevant bills this year:
    • Delaware SB8: Establishes compensation as a mandatory subject of collective bargaining efforts.
    • Nevada SB135: Provides for collective bargaining rights for state employees.
    • Oregon HB2016: Requires public employers to grant paid time to employees participating in certain union activities; requires employers to furnish unions with access to employees.
    • Oregon HB3009: Requires public employers to provide unions with access to new employees; permits individuals who are not union members to make payments in lieu of dues to unions.
    • Washington HB1575: Declares that public employers and public-sector unions are not liable for claims involving agency fees paid to unions prior to Janus; amends dues deduction authorization laws, allowing authorizations to be initiated via electronic, voice, or written communication and requiring authorizations to be discontinued by a written request made to the union.

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state

We are currently tracking 101 pieces of legislation dealing with public-sector employee union policy. On the map below, a darker shade of green indicates a greater number of relevant bills. Click here for a complete list of all the bills we’re tracking.

Union Station map July 12, 2019.png

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

Union Station status chart July 12, 2019.png

Number of relevant bills by partisan status of sponsor(s)

Union Station partisan chart July 12, 2019.png

Recent legislative actions

Below is a complete list of legislative actions on relevant bills since the beginning of the year. Bills are listed in alphabetical order, first by state and then by bill number.

  • California AB314: This bill would require employers to grant employees paid time for certain union activities.
    • Referred to Senate Appropriations Committee suspense file July 8.
  • Massachusetts H3854: This bill would authorize employers to disclose personal employee information to unions. It would also permit unions to require non-members to pay for the costs associated with grievance and arbitration proceedings. It would require employers to provide unions with access to employees, and it would allow for dues deduction authorizations to be irrevocable for a period of up to one year.
    • Adopted by both House and Senate July 3.
  • Oregon HB2276: This bill would prohibit public employers and labor unions from entering into agreements authorizing the deduction of in-lieu-of-dues payments from public employee paychecks.
    • Died in committee upon adjournment June 30.
  • Oregon HB2567: This bill would require the state Employment Relations Board to conduct a study “relating to public employers subject to public employee collective bargaining act” and submit that study to the legislature by September 15, 2021.
    • Died in committee upon adjournment June 30.
  • Oregon HB2643: This bill would prohibit employers from requiring employees to pay dues or agency fees to unions if they choose not to become members. This bill would also establish the Employment Relations Protection Account and require public employers to pay assessments to this account. These assessments would then be distributed to unions.
    • Died in committee upon adjournment June 30.
  • Oregon HB2726: This bill would allow non-members to make voluntary contributions to labor unions via payroll deduction.
    • Died in committee upon adjournment June 30.
  • Oregon HB2775: This bill would permit public-sector employees to refrain from joining or paying dues to unions. This bill would also allow unions to choose not to represent non-members.
    • Died in committee upon adjournment June 30.
  • Oregon HB3072: This bill would allow employees to revoke authorizations for dues or fees deductions paid to unions.
    • Died in committee upon adjournment June 30.
  • Oregon HB3244: This bill would prohibit employers from requiring employees to become or remain union members as a condition of employment. This bill would also prohibit employers from requiring employees to pay fees to unions in lieu of dues as a condition of employment.
    • Died in committee upon adjournment June 30.
  • Oregon SB846: This bill would allow public employees to refrain from joining or paying dues to a union. This bill would also permit unions to refrain from representing employees who choose not to join or pay dues to the union.
    • Died in committee upon adjournment June 30.
  • Rhode Island H5259: This bill would authorize unions to impose fees on non-members to represent them in grievance and arbitration proceedings. It would require employers to notify unions within five days of hiring new employees. It would also require employees to file written notice with the state controller in order to discontinue dues payroll deductions. This is a companion bill to S0712.
    • Signed into law July 8.
  • Rhode Island S0712: This bill would authorize unions to impose fees on non-members to represent them in grievance and arbitration proceedings. It would require employers to notify unions within five days of hiring new employees. It would also require employees to file written notice with the state controller in order to discontinue dues payroll deductions. This is a companion bill to H5259.
    • Signed into law July 8.

Warren releases immigration platform


July 12, 2019: Elizabeth Warren released her immigration platform. Kirsten Gillibrand proposed tax penalties against companies that outsource jobs.

       Each Friday, we’ll highlight a presidential candidate’s key campaign staffer.

Daily Presidential News Briefing - Staffer Spotlight - Jennifer O'Malley Dillon

Jennifer O’Malley Dillon is a longtime Democratic staffer and specialist in data analysis.

Previous campaign work:

  • 2012 Barack Obama presidential campaign, deputy campaign manager
  • 2008 Barack Obama presidential campaign, battleground states director
  • 2008 John Edwards presidential campaign, deputy national campaign manager and Iowa state director
  • 2006 Jim Davis Florida gubernatorial campaign, campaign manager
  • 2004 Tom Daschle U.S. Senate campaign, deputy campaign manager
  • 2002 Tim Johnson U.S. Senate campaign, field director

Other experience:

  • 2013-Present: Precision Strategies, partner and co-founder
  • 2009-2010: Democratic National Committee, executive director

What she says about O’Rourke:

“His leadership, his energy, his belief that you don’t have to segment voters and that you can be a president for all voters…people are searching for that.”

Notable Quote of the Day

“In poll after poll, Sanders appeals to lower-income and less-educated people; Warren beats Sanders among those with postgraduate degrees. Sanders performs better with men, Warren with women. Younger people who vote less frequently are more often in Sanders’ camp; seniors who follow politics closely generally prefer Warren. …

It demonstrates that a progressive economic message can excite different parts of the electorate, but it also means that Sanders and Warren likely need to expand their bases in order to win the Democratic nomination.

Put another way, if their voters could magically be aligned behind one or the other, it would vastly increase the odds of a Democratic nominee on the left wing of the ideological spectrum.”

– Holly Otterbein, Politico reporter


  • Michael Bennet discussed his polling performance, prostate cancer diagnosis, and work with the Gang of Eight on a 2013 bipartisan immigration bill on The View Thursday.
  • Joe BidenCory BookerPete ButtigiegJulián CastroKamala HarrisSeth Moulton, and Beto O’Rourke are campaigning in New Hampshire this weekend.
  • The following candidates will also be in Iowa for events like the Ankeny Area Democrats SummerFest BBQ and Progress Iowa Corn Feed: BennetBill de BlasioButtigiegCastroJohn DelaneyGillibrandJohn HickenlooperJay InsleeAmy KlobucharMoultonTim RyanJoe Sestak, and Marianne Williamson.
  • De Blasio wrote an op-ed on criticizing the Trump administration’s proposal to revise the North American Free Trade Agreement. De Blasio called for rewriting the trade agreement to include wage standards and the right to organize and form multinational bargaining units.
  • In a video for NowThisNewsSteve Bullock criticized undisclosed satellite spending in politics.
  • Pete Buttigieg officially unveiled the “Douglass Plan,” his platform focused on economic opportunity for black Americans. The plan calls for investing $25 billion in HBCUs and minority-serving institutions, revitalizing abandoned properties, and increasing access to credit. He also advocated redrawing the boundaries of Washington, D.C., to create a new state called New Columbia.
  • Tulsi Gabbard campaigned in Wisconsin, holding a town hall in Milwaukee and speaking at a youth awards banquet at the LULAC annual conference.
  • Gillibrand proposed a “Deadbeat Company Tax,” which would penalize large companies for moving 25 jobs or more overseas. The penalties include a 15 percent abandonment tax on the total value of any capital assets moved out of the U.S.
  • The Mike Gravel campaign released a negative ad against Biden questioning his record as a progressive. It will air Friday on MSNBC.
  • In an op-ed on democracy for FortuneGravel wrote, “We must return lawmaking power directly to the people through a legislature of the people, and give them the budgets they need through a land value tax.”
  • Harris proposed investing $1 billion into states to clear the rape kit backlog nationwide. States would have to meet new standards to receive funding, including providing an annual report on the number of untested kits and testing new kits more quickly.
  • Amy Klobuchar issued a policy proposal addressing eldercare, Alzheimer’s disease, and the financial concerns of seniors Friday. The plan would be funded through taxes on inherited wealth.
  • In an interview on BET Digital’s Black CoffeeBernie Sanders discussed reparations, student loan debt, and how his proposals will affect black communities.
  • Tom Steyer discussed his presidential campaign and its focus on reducing corporate involvement in elections on Cheddar Thursday.
  • Elizabeth Warren released her immigration policy proposal Thursday. She would eliminate criminal penalties for unauthorized border crossings, separate law enforcement and immigration enforcement into two distinct functions, and shift the priorities of U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement to homeland security efforts.
  • Andrew Yang announced that he raised $2.8 million in the second quarter of 2019. 


What We’re Reading

Flashback: July 12, 2015

Several news outlets reported that Scott Walker planned to announce his candidacy for president the following day.

The Daily Brew: Less than one month until Seattle’s City Council elections

Today’s Brew highlights Seattle’s upcoming races for seven city council seats + Trump appoints a seventh judge to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals  
The Daily Brew

Welcome to the Thursday, July 11, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Seattle to elect 7 of 9 council members one year after repealing housing tax proposal
  2. Senate confirms third appeals court judge this year without support from both home-state senators
  3. Federal judge blocks Trump administration rule requiring drug price disclosure in television ads

Seattle to elect 7 of 9 council members one year after repealing housing tax proposal

Seattle voters will elect seven of nine city council members later this year in races which have attracted $1.2 million in public financing and $308,000 in satellite spending. All of the outside spending has been by the political action committee of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, which has raised over $900,000. Amazon—which has its headquarters in Seattle—has contributed $200,000 of that amount. 

In 2018, the city council unanimously passed a law that would have required businesses grossing at least $20 million to pay $275 per employee to fund affordable housing programs for the homeless. The proposal faced criticism from Amazon and the Chamber of Commerce. One month after its passage, seven of nine council members voted to repeal the tax.

Three incumbents are running for re-election in their districts and there are four open seats. The Chamber of Commerce’s political action committee has spent $308,000 in support of nine candidates across the seven districts, including challengers to two incumbents. Across all seven elections, 55 candidates are running. In 2015, 37 candidates filed to run for the same seven seats.

This is the second city council election in which candidates can participate in a public campaign financing program involving voter vouchers. Eligible Seattle residents received four $25 vouchers each, which they could distribute among council candidates of their choosing. As of last week, 42 candidates were participating in the program, and $1.2 million had been distributed among 32 candidates.

This is also the second election in which voters will elect district representatives to the city council. Seattle passed a charter amendment in 2013 that changed the city council from nine at-large positions to seven positions elected according to districts and two at-large members. The nonpartisan primary elections are on August 6 and the top two finishers in each district will advance to general elections November 5.

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New Beyond the Headlines Video

Vice President Mike Pence has cast 13 tie-breaking votes in the Senate as of June 25, 2019. Find out how that compares to previous vice presidents and learn which bills Pence has broken the tie on. Watch now→


Senate confirms third appeals court judge this year without support from both home-state senators 

The U.S. Senate confirmed Daniel Bress along party lines to a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit Tuesday. President Donald Trump (R) nominated Bress in February to succeed Judge Alex Kozinski, who was appointed to the court by Ronald Reagan in 1985.

After Bress assumes his seat, the 9th Circuit will have 28 active judges. Of those 28, 16 judges were appointed by Democratic presidents and 12 were appointed by Republicans:

  • 9 by President Bill Clinton

  • 5 by President George W. Bush

  • 7 by President Barack Obama

  • 7 by President Trump

The Ninth Circuit is the largest federal appeals court, with 29 judicial positions. The second largest—the Fifth Circuit—has 17 judgeships.

Neither Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) nor Sen. Kamala Harris (D) of California returned blue slips for Bress’ nomination. A blue slip is the name for a piece of paper a home-state senator returns to the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee to show his or her approval of a federal judicial nominee and are considered a senatorial courtesy. The Judiciary Committee chairman determines the policy he or she applies to how blue slips impact the confirmation process. 

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)—who became chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee in January 2019—said he would follow the blue slip tradition for district court nominees but not for appeals court nominees. There are 179 federal appeals court judgeships and 677 district court judgeships. Graham has also stated that the lack of a blue slip should not prevent a judicial nominee from moving forward in the confirmation process. Bress is the third appeals court judge confirmed by the Senate in 2019 without support from both home-state senators.


Federal judge blocks Trump administration rule requiring drug price disclosure in television ads

In May, I brought you the story about a new federal rule requiring pharmaceutical companies to include the list price of certain prescription drugs in television advertisements. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)—an agency within the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS)—intended to make Medicare and Medicaid administration more efficient by giving beneficiaries of the programs more information about the costs of drugs. 

The rule—which was set to take effect Tuesday—was blocked by a federal judge’s ruling in a lawsuit brought by three pharmaceutical companies and the Association of National Advertisers. The plaintiffs argued that Congress did not grant the HHS authority to regulate drug advertising and that the rule amounted to compelled speech in violation of the First Amendment.  

Federal judge Amit Mehta of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia—who was appointed by President Obama in 2014—prevented the measure from taking effect, ruling Monday that the HHS exceeded its authority under the Social Security Act to adopt it. Mehta’s opinion stated, in part, “The plain statutory text simply does not support the notion—at least not in a way that is textually self-evident—that Congress intended for the Secretary to possess the far-reaching power to regulate the marketing of prescription drugs.”

After the decision, a White House spokesperson released a statement which said, “It is outrageous that an Obama appointed judge sided with big PhRMA to keep high drug prices secret from the American people, leaving patients and families as the real victims.”



Seven presidential candidates speak at LULAC conference

 Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

June 11, 2019: Seven presidential candidates are scheduled to speak at the League of United Latin American Citizens annual conference Wednesday through Friday. Joe Biden delivers a foreign policy speech Thursday.

Daily Presidential News Briefing - Poll One (June 28 - July 1, 2019)
        Daily Presidential News Briefing - Poll Two (July 6 - July 8, 2019)

Notable Quote of the Day

“You have a [Attorney General William] Barr hearing or a [Supreme Court Justice Brett] Kavanaugh hearing or impeachment-related hearings — you’re in front of millions and millions of people. The exposure that members of Congress get is tremendous and governors don’t get that. I did not have a lot of people asking me to go on national television to explain which roads I was building to ease congestion in Virginia. It was not a sexy topic.”

– Terry McAuliffe (D), former governor of Virginia


  • Elizabeth Warren reintroduced the Climate Risk Disclosure Act, which would require companies to disclose information about climate risks like greenhouse gas emissions. Michael BennetCory BookerKirsten GillibrandKamala Harris, and Amy Klobuchar cosponsored the bill. 
  • Julián CastroBeto O’RourkeBernie Sanders, and Warren are participating in a town hall hosted by the League of United Latin American Citizens at their annual conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Thursday night. John Delaney spoke at the opening banquet Wednesday. Booker and Marianne Williamson will speak at conference events Friday.
  • Joe Biden will deliver a foreign policy speech in New York Thursday focused on three pillars: strengthening democracy in the U.S. and abroad, helping the middle class succeed in a global economy, and coordinating global action to combat world issues like climate change. Biden also posted a video called “The Trump Doctrine” criticizing Trump’s foreign policy approach.
  • Bill de Blasio said he would either push Congress to amend the Amateur Sports Act to require gender pay equity in national sports or use an executive order to achieve the same end.
  • Booker introduced a bill that would prohibit the U.S. Census Bureau from including citizenship information when supplying redistricting data.
  • While campaigning in Iowa City, Steve Bullock said he opposed eliminating all student debt and compared the debt to the billions held in car loans. He said employer-assisted debt repayment should not be taxed.
  • In an interview on NPR’s Morning EditionPete Buttigieg discussed his black voter outreach efforts and “Douglass Plan,” which he says will address systemic racial inequality.
  • Tulsi Gabbard tweeted that she had more than 97,000 unique donors. The threshold for the third presidential debate is 130,000.
  • Gillibrand begins her “Trump Broken Promises Tour” through Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan. She will campaign in Pittsburgh Thursday.
  • Jay Inslee said he opposed the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline, which runs between the Great Lakes, and the plan to replace it with a new pipeline tunnel.
  • Seth Moulton supported an amendment to the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act that would prohibit federal money from funding a war with Iran without congressional approval.
  • The Cedar Rapids Gazette wrote about Joe Sestak’s campaign stop in Iowa July 5, where he spoke about climate change.
  • In an interview with The AtlanticTom Steyer discussed why he changed his mind about running for president. 


What We’re Reading

Flashback: July 11, 2015

In an interview with The New York Times, Bernie Sanders said his politics came from looking at issues from a class perspective. “I’m not a liberal. Never have been. I’m a progressive who mostly focuses on the working and middle class,” Sanders said.

Steyer spends $1.4 million on national and early state ad campaign

Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

July 10, 2019: Tom Steyer spent $1.4 million on a national and early state ad campaign introducing himself to voters. Marianne Williamson’s Iowa state director, Brent Roske, has joined John Delaney’s campaign.

 Facebook Ad Spending (July 1 - July 7)

Notable Quotes of the Day

“Campaigns offer a chance not only to tell people what kind of president you’ll be, but to show it. [Elizabeth Warren is] running her campaign the way she intends to govern: willing to question existing power structures, making decisions grounded in evidence, and always fighting to build something more progressive, more inclusive, more joyful — and more democratic — than what came before.”

– Joe Rospars, 2020 Warren chief campaign strategist

“Quality has cost. I’d rather have Jim Margolis [who is working for Kamala Harris] on my side and pay some fees than ‘Larry’ in a cubicle in-house who is learning media buying. Not having a pollster is just running on outsized hubris and ego, I think. But maybe [the Warren campaign has] an in-house pollster next to Larry.”

– Mike Murphy, former Right to Rise PAC chief strategist


  • The third Democratic primary debate will be held in Houston, Texas, on September 12 with an optional second night on September 13. ABC News and Univision will host the event.

  • More than a dozen Democratic presidential candidates have called on Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta to resign for his involvement in negotiating a plea agreement for Jeffrey Epstein in a 2008 sex trafficking case.

  • Michael Bennet spoke about prescription drug costs and the advise and consent responsibility of the U.S. Senate during an event at the Politics & Prose bookstore in Washington, D.C., Tuesday.

  • According to financial disclosure forms released Tuesday, Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, made more than $15 million in the two years following his departure from the vice presidency through book deals and speaking engagements. They paid $5.2 million in taxes over those two years and donated $1.3 million.

  • Teen Vogue interviewed Cory Booker about his gun violence prevention policy and experience living in a neighborhood with gun violence.

  • VICE News released a video profile of Steve Bullock on the campaign trail while other candidates were participating in the first Democratic debates.

  • Julián Castro said Tuesday that in addition to decriminalizing unauthorized border crossings, he advocates repealing the law that makes it a felony to reenter the U.S. after deportation.

  • In an interview with the USA Today editorial board, John Delaney discussed his BetterCare healthcare system, the Green New Deal, criminal justice, and foreign policy. “This election is going to be fought in the center,” Delaney said.

  • Kirsten Gillibrand spoke at the “Politics & Eggs” event in Manchester, New Hampshire, and discussed conservative positions she previously held on gun legislation and immigration.

  • The Mike Gravel campaign shared its transportation policy, which calls for nationalizing railways, redirecting funding from highways to public transportation, and creating an interstate bikeway system.

  • Kamala Harris and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez introduced a bill Wednesday that would make it easier for people with criminal records to obtain federal housing assistance.

  • In an interview with The Des Moines RegisterJohn Hickenlooper said he had rebooted his campaign and planned to spend more time campaigning than fundraising.

  • In an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Jay Inslee spoke about climate changeand the Trump administration.

  • Amy Klobuchar discussed her work as a prosecutor and the Jeffrey Epstein case in an interview on MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews.

  • Wayne Messam is hosting a meet and greet in South Carolina Saturday.

  • Seth Moulton co-wrote an op-ed in the Salem Gazette on addressing combined sewer overflow and water infrastructure issues in Massachusetts.

  • In a Medium post, Beto O’Rourke discussed his campaign trip through Tennessee.

  • Tim Ryan discussed the U.S. economy and China tariffs in an interview with Bloomberg.

  • Bernie Sanders wrote an op-ed in Fortune outlining his plan to cancel $1.6 trillion in student debt and make public colleges, trade schools, and apprenticeship programs tuition- and debt-free.

  • Tom Steyer spent $1.4 million on two ads promoting his campaign. The ads will run for two weeks nationally on CNN and MSNBC and locally in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada.

  • The Elizabeth Warren campaign has not hired an outside polling firm and is producing TV and digital media internally, according to a Politico report. Her campaign has over 300 staffers.

  • Brent Roske resigned from Marianne Williamson’s campaign as Iowa state director to join Delaney’s campaign. Paula Roby will serve as the interim Iowa state director for Williamson. 

  • Andrew Yang said that his Universal Basic Income proposal would acknowledge the work of caregiving and empower women to leave exploitative jobs or relationships.


  • Donald Trump invited Republican lawmakers, political strategists, and conservative social media personalities to the White House to discuss the “opportunities and challenges of today’s online environment.”

Special Guest Analysis: Trump and Ballot Policies

Jim Ellis is a 35-year political veteran who now analyzes election data for major corporations, associations, and legislative advocacy firms. He is president of EllisInsight, LLC. We invited him to share analysis of the presidential race.

Several states have pending legislation that would require presidential candidates to release their tax returns in order to qualify for their 2020 ballot. The move is targeted at President Trump who has yet to release his tax returns. But, would denying ballot placement in opposition states actually hurt him?

A contrary argument exists to suggest that Mr. Trump and other Republican candidates in states like California and New York might actually receive some tangential benefits from the President not appearing on the ballot.

First, Trump’s name being absent on opposition state ballots wouldn’t change the Electoral College outcome. He will likely concede the most non-competitive places at the outset and spend no campaign money in doing so. Therefore, his ballot placement in these states becomes irrelevant.

Second, when Mr. Trump then loses the national popular vote, he can claim the count is illegitimate because he was barred from competing in several states that would have obviously changed the final totals. Additionally, it might make attempting to change individual Electors’ votes in the 21 states that do not legally bind them to their state total a more difficult argument if no national popular vote tally exists.

Third, without Mr. Trump’s name on the ballot in places like California and New York it’s possible that other Republican candidates could see a slightly more favorable political climate because the sharp edge found in the presidential contest would be removed, at least to some degree. Thus, some anti-Trump voters may become disinclined to participate if they actually can’t vote against him, causing them to believe the process would become a useless exercise.

In summation, should income tax disclosure legislation actually be enacted the Democrats and not President Trump might well become victims of their ballot chicanery.

Flashback: July 10, 2015

Several Republican presidential candidates attended the annual National Right to Life convention in New Orleans, Louisian

The Daily Brew: Murphy wins GOP runoff in NC-03 special primary

Today’s Brew highlights the outcome of the GOP primary for the special election in North Carolina’s 3rd District + breaks down SCOTUS’ reversal rate during this past term  
The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Wednesday, July 10, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Murphy wins Republican primary runoff in NC-03
  2. Supreme Court reversed nearly 65% of lower court rulings in its October 2018 term
  3. Your June state legislative party update—52.3% Republicans, 47.0% Democrats

Murphy wins Republican primary runoff in NC-03

State Representative Greg Murphy defeated Dr. Joan Perry to win the Republican primary runoff in North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District. Murphy received 59.7% of the vote to Perry’s 40.3%. Murphy had finished first among 17 candidates in the April 30 Republican primary with 22.5% of the vote. Perry was second in that race with 15.4%. 

Murphy will face Allen Thomas (D) and Tim Harris (L) in the September 10 special election. That election will fill the vacancy left by Walter Jones (R), who died on February 10.Inside Elections rates the special election “Solid Republican.” President Trump carried the district in the 2016 presidential race, receiving 60.5% of the vote.

Murphy and Perry split support from outside groups and members of Congress. Murphy received the support of Rep. Mark Meadows, the House Freedom Caucus, and the National Rifle Association. Perry received the support of all 13 Republican women in Congress, Winning for Women Action Fund, and FreedomWorks for America. Earlier this week, Rudy Giuliani recorded robocalls on behalf of Murphy, and Newt Gingrich recorded robocalls on behalf of Perry.

Learn more

Supreme Court reversed nearly 65% of lower court rulings in its October 2018 term 

The Supreme Court is the court of last resort in our judicial system. That means one role SCOTUS serves is to be the final arbiter, and thereby at times overturn previously decided cases. After each term concludes, we publish the court’s reversal rate. The Supreme Court reversed the ruling by a lower court in 48 of the 74 cases—64.9%—it decided in its October 2018 term that concluded last month. This is the lowest rate since the October 2015 term when the court reversed 63.2% of lower court rulings and is 5 percentage points lower than the court’s overall reversal rate since 2007 of 69.8%.

There are two primary outcomes once the Supreme Court agrees to hear a case. It can either affirm the lower court’s ruling or reverse it. Almost all cases heard by the court originate in a lower court—either one of the 13 appeals circuits, state-level courts, or U.S. district courts.

The court concluded its most recent term last month, but our team is still analyzing the data behind their decisions. Here are three more highlights:

  • Since 2007, the Supreme Court has released opinions in 923 cases. Over that period, it reversed the lower court decision 644 times and affirmed it 261 times.
  • During the term that just ended, the court issued rulings in more cases that originated from the Ninth Circuit—14—than any other lower court. It reversed the Ninth Circuit’s ruling in 12 of them.
  • Over the Supreme Court’s last 12 terms—dating back to 2007—it has decided more cases originating from the Ninth Circuit—181—than from any other lower court. 

We’ve crunched even more numbers about the court’s reversal rate and the number of decisions by circuit dating back to 2007 that I’m sure you’re going to want to explore. Just click the link below. But be warned, you might lose track of time while you’re there.

Learn more→


Your June state legislative party update—52.3% Republicans, 47.0% Democrats

As of the end of June, 52.3% of all state legislators were Republicans and 47.0% were Democrats. The remaining seats were vacant or held by members of other political parties.

There are a total of 7,383 state legislative seats in the country. Republicans held 3,862 of those seats and Democrats controlled 3,467. Independent or third-party legislators held 33 seats and 21 seats were vacant.

At the time of the 2018 elections, there were 4,023 Republican state legislators, 3,257 Democratic state legislators, 35 independent or third-party state legislators, and 68 vacancies.

The chart below shows the number of state legislative seats controlled by each party as of January of each year:

Party control

There are 99 state legislative chambers, as all but one state—Nebraska—has both an upper (state Senate) and lower (state House) legislative body. Republicans hold a majority of seats in 62 state legislative chambers, and Democrats hold the majority in 37.

Learn more→